March 2013

BlackBerry Music Gateway

by Volker Weber

These are the two BlackBerry Music Gateways, the old one at the bottom, the new one at the top. They both do the same thing: pick up music over Bluetooth and deliver it to Line-Out. I connect the line-out to a Sonos player, which is set up to autoplay from Line-In. You press the top of the gateway once to put it into pairing mode, then you pair it from your mobile. It does not have to be a BlackBerry. The gateway works with any other device.

The new gateway is even lighter than the old one. And it has one benefit: NFC. Just tap it with your NFC-enabled device and it connects. Tap it again, and it disconnects. BlackBerry Z10, BlackBerry 9900, Lumia 920 - they all work. What are you waiting for? :-)

Sonos SUB in weiß

by Volker Weber

Seit es den schwarzen Sonos SUB gibt, haben Leute nach einem weißen gefragt. Leider will Sonos (bisher) keinen bauen: 'not planned'. Man könnte ihn lackieren.

Thomas hatte eine bessere Idee, über die wir vor Wochen gesprochen haben. So wie man Autos mit einer andersfarbigen Folie beziehen kann, so geht das auch mit dem SUB. Und nun bietet er Euch das an. Wichtig war mir auch, dass der Sonos-Schriftzug erhalten bleibt. Genau so könnte ein Original-Sub aussehen. In weiß. Da man die Folie auch wieder abziehen kann, bleibt die Garantie voll erhalten. Das Gerät wird nicht demontiert.

So macht man das. Natürlich geht auch jede andere Farbe.

Microsoft, are you in this for the win?

by Volker Weber

I was discussing app options with a vendor today. You know, which platforms to develop for. Here's the money quote:

"WP is just too slow for us to adopt right this minute."

That's it. Too slow. Exactly. The vendor was thinking "market share". But I am thinking speed. Updates to the platform take months. And then you can hardly see any progress. Examples?

Windows Phone 8 does not even have an orientation lock. App developers are starting to add this features since it's missing from the operating system. Android and iOS have had this forever.

There is no data monitor. There is nothing in Windows Phone 8 that would tell you how much data you have transmitted this month. Yeah, Data Sense. "Data Sense is not currently available for all mobile operators."

And the list goes on and on and on. Nokia keeps cranking out updates to their apps almost weekly. And Microsoft? "Your software is up-to-date". My ass. How many developers do they have on this? Five? Three of them on maternal leave?

Edyta sucht Arbeit

by Volker Weber

Im Juni 2013 ziehe ich zu meinem Lebensgefährten nach Berlin Wilmersdorf. Daher suche ich einen neuen Job in Berlin, vorzugsweise in der Rezeption oder Reservierungsabteilung eines Hotels.

So macht man das. Sehr sympathisch.

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Windows lügt

by Volker Weber

Google unterstützt sehr wohl weiterhin Exchange ActiveSync (EAS). Auch für GMail, wenn das Gerät vor dem 30.1.2013 erstmals EAS mit GMail genutzt hat. Von Googles Seite gibt es nicht mal eine Deadline, ab wann diese Geräte kein EAS mehr können.

Microsoft hat sie nun verkrüppelt. Mal sehen, ob man diese Blockade noch geschickt umschiffen kann.

Nokia Musik+ jetzt auch in Deutschland

by Volker Weber

Jedes Lumia kommt mit Nokia Mixradio. Keine Anmeldung, keine Werbung. Verschiedene Mixe, eigene Mixe, online streamen, bis zu vier Offline mitnehmen. Eine weitere Einschränkung: man kann nur 6x pro Stunde skippen, wenn einem ein Track nicht gefällt.

Von diesen Einschränkungen kann man sich jetzt freikaufen. Für 4 Euro (-1 ct) pro Monat gibt es beliebig viele Offline-Mixes und man kann beliebig oft skippen. Dazu gibt es bei einigen Tracks auch die Lyrics.

Ich habe es probiert. Man kann Musik+ 7 Tage kostenlos testen. Das funktioniert gut, taugt mir aber nicht, weil ich es nicht mit SONOS nutzen kann.

GMail and ActiveSync - it's complicated

by Volker Weber

Now that Microsoft updates their calendar in Windows 8 and RT, everybody (but Ed Bott) gets the story wrong. That's what happens when you copy from The Verge.

Google stopped admitting new devices to ActiveSync January 30th. With one exception: Microsoft and Google negotiated a six months extension for Windows Phone, and Windows Phone only. You cannot add Windows 8 or Windows RT devices to your list of ActiveSync devices. Whatever is on the list, continues to work.

Up until today's update, Windows 8 and RT would ask you, when creating a new account for GMail, if you wanted to sync Mail or Mail/Contacts/Calendar. If you selected Mail, it would create an IMAP account. If you selected Mail/Contacts/Calendars, it would create an ActiveSync account. And then, since January 30, fail with a "cannot connect to server" error.

This changes now. It will just create an IMAP account without asking.

FAQ: What is my main phone?

by Volker Weber

I often get asked what my "main phone" is. People are looking for a recommendation. The real answer is that I would not recommend any phone over the others. Everybody is looking for something different. Apple iPhone 5, BlackBerry Z10, Nokia Lumia 920, they are all excellent. You will be happy with either one.

Yes, there is no Android phone in that list. I cannot find one that would be pure and good enough. The Nexus 4 would have a chance, but its camera isn't useful for me. Does that mean you should not get an Android? Of course not.

So which is my main phone? Currently (and ever since I had it) it's the Lumia 920. Why? There are a lot of small reasons: best camera, wireless charging, solid as a rock, excellent screen, Nokia Music, HERE, Skydrive (yes, Skydrive!). The interesting thing is wireless charging. At first I thought this was a gimmick. But once you get used to it, there is no way back.

And then there are people that say, if it was only running Android. What I can tell you is this: if there were two Lumias, one of them with Android, I would still want the one I have.

Stuff that works

by Volker Weber

There is a constant stream of toys coming in and going out of vowe's magic flying circus. And there there are toys that win the editor-refuses-to-give-it-back award. They have to prove themselves over a longer period of time. And I am happy to report that these five items have not let me down, from left to right:

Do you think your product should be on the list? Read the FAQ.

Google broke it

by Volker Weber

You can bend a piece of metal. Back and forth. Many times. And then, finally, it will break.

Many years ago I switched from using Altavista to Google as my search engine. Years later, Google built the first desirable webmail. They gave me a whopping 1 GB mailbox that kept growing. Google Docs (now Drive) allowed me to co-edit documents and share them with my editors. Google calendar did the same for calendars. Federated calendars! Then Google Sync would tie all that into the many mobile devices I had. Google would go out of their way to make it work everywhere. From old Windows Mobile and Symbian, to BlackBerry, PalmOS. If it was there, it would work with Google.

It was wonderful.

Then something happened. I believe it was Larry Page taking over from Eric Schmidt. And Google changed.

Things would just stop working. BlackBerry Sync would be abandonded. Stuff would only work with Android and iOS. Google would start abandoning Microsoft. And with that, Microsoft customers.

Google would not give you options. Google would not even take your money to grow your mailbox beyond 25 GB. Google would not take your money to be able to ActiveSync your GMail account. Google would just take it away. Reader is only the latest example. It's one data point in the new Google way.

They bent the metal too often. My trust in Google is broken.

Byebye Microsoft Surface

by Volker Weber

I have only had Microsoft Surface for three weeks, and now it needs to return. Everything is returned from vowe's magic flying circus. Sometimes it takes three weeks, sometimes it may take years. :-)

We had a lot more fun than I initially thought. Surface is hard, Surface is not human. And still, it was the most used device in the last three weeks. It took about a week until I started using it all day. To my surprise, I hardly ever used one of the two keyboards. Whenever I needed a real keyboard to type a lengthy email, I would rather use the Lenovo Yoga. If I wanted a tablet, I picked Surface because it is smaller and lighter. That's a luxury you won't have since you will have either or. Of the two keyboard, I like the colorful Touch keyboard more, but I did not invest enough time to adjust to it. Most people will be better off with the Type keyboard, which has actual keys and not only a touch surface. The Lenovo keyboard is much better than both of them.

Yoga has another advantage over the Surface that I borrowed: more storage. I was able to put a lot of media files on the Yoga that I could not fit on Surface. If you get a Surface RT, you want 64 GB. If you buy a Surface Pro, you want 128 GB. Less storage won't work. I did find the MicroSD card slot, but the added storage is not very useful, since removable storage is not integrated into the RT apps like Music or Videos. Media files will not show in these apps. Corollary: this is the place to store your home videos.

While Surface misses the human touch, I found the build quality to be exceptionally good. It's a nice item to have. I often opened the stand, even when I was holding the tablet. It was nice putting some fingers under it for extra grip. There is one exception to the quality experience: Microsoft has a similar design to Apple's MagSafe connector you find on MacBooks. But it's not working nearly as well. The magnet is weaker, and the tolerances are too tight. The connector comes off too easily and it's fiddly to fit in.

I continue to like Windows RT and will return my full attention to the Lenovo Yoga 11. But it was indeed nice using Microsoft Surface. Thank you.

Ein schönes Kompliment

by Volker Weber

Und ein schöner Text!

Wieder was gelernt: BlackBerry zählt Geräte, nicht Anwender

by Volker Weber

So steht das heute bei bei Heise:

Gezählt werden Anwender und nicht Geräte, da BES 10 auch mehrere Geräte pro Anwender verwalten kann.

Und das ist falsch. Wir werden berichtigen. Vor allem muss ich mich entschuldigen, denn ich habe das nicht zum ersten Mal erzählt. Da habe ich irgendein Briefing falsch verstanden und nicht mehr hinterfragt. Jetzt weiß ich es. Danke, Ralph Hammann.

Sorry Google, you can Keep it to yourself

by Volker Weber

It might actually be good, or even better than Evernote. But I still won’t use Keep. You know why? Google Reader.


More > is live

by Volker Weber

And Google breaks his first post.

Update: fixed, by replacing Google with Vimeo. Enjoy.

SONOS SUB in matte black

by Volker Weber

Sonos has decided to not make the matte black SUB. Demand for the shiny black version is high enough that they do not need to make it available at a lower price point. However, they have a very small batch of matte black SUB that are on sale now. You can only order it through their website. And you have to do it now. Like "5 minutes ago now". Until April 2, or "while supplies last". Whichever comes first. And I am pretty sure, supplies will not last but a few hours.


Why would you want one? It's cheaper. 599 instead of 699 (EUR incl., $ excl. tax). And you will have a limited edition device. Very few people will own one. What does it look like? I have no idea.

In Deutschland bringt das preislich nichts. Thomas kann den Hochglanz-SUB für zwei Wochen 30€ günstiger anbieten. Und mit Euren Konditionen geht sich das dann aus.

Update: All gone.

Sonos Playbar mit Toslink Switch

by Volker Weber

Ein sehr schöner Erfahrungsbericht über das Zusammenspiel einer Sonos Playbar mit einem Toslink Switch, geschrieben von Michael Schnatmann, hier mit freundlicher Genehmigung veröffentlicht:

Man könnte sich jetzt fragen, warum man den Playbar über einen Toslink Switch mit dem TV verbindet. Wie viele Käufer und Interessenten bereits bemerkt haben, reichen die meisten TVs keine Mehrkanal-Sound über den optischen Ausgang weiter, wenn die Geräte / Zuspieler per HDMI am TV angeschlossen sind. Mein Panasonic TX50GW20 gehört leider auch dazu. Kurioser Weise gilt diese Einschränkung auch für viele der aktuellen Modelle von Panasonic, zu anderen Herstellern kann ich nichts sagen.

Da ich wie vermutlich auch viele andere Nutzer nicht nur ein Gerät am TV angeschlossen habe, bekam der Playbar in meinem ursprünglichen Setup nur direkt vom TV ein Mehrkanal-Signal (DD 2.0 / 5.1). Alle anderen Geräte (Mac Mini als Media Center, PS3, SKY Receiver) kamen beim Playbar nur als Stereosignal an. Bei vowe hatte ein Leser den Toslink Switch von Inline empfohlen, um dieses Problem zu umgehen.

Der Switch hat ein übliches Steckernetzteil, 4 Toslink Eingänge, 2 Ausgänge und eine recht einfache Fernbedienung. Letztere sendet ein recht schwaches Signal, hier würde ich die Nutzung einer Universalfernbedienung empfehlen. Ich nutze eine Logitech Harmony und diese arbeitet perfekt mit dem Switch zusammen.

Der Aufbau und Anschluss geht flott von der Hand, Ausgang 1 mit dem Playbar verbinden, die Eingänge mit den verschiedenen Geräten, fertig. Das Ergebnis ist für mich perfekt: Jetzt erreichen den Playbar von allen Geräten DD 2.0 / 5.1. Störgeräusche oder Probleme kann ich nach einer Woche Nutzung nicht feststellen.

Ein Manko des Playbar ist meiner Meinung nach die fehlende Unterstützung für DTS. DTS HD ist eh kein Thema, da DTS HD nicht über den optischen Ausgang übertragen wird. Warum Sonos DTS nicht unterstützt dürfte sich durch die Tatsache erklären, dass ein direkter Anschluss von Zuspielern wie in dem Toslink Switch Setup nicht vorgesehen ist. TVs unterstützen DTS in der Regel ebenfalls nicht und so ist es nur logisch, dass Sonos auf die Lizenzgebühren für die DTS-Unterstützung verzichtet hat. Ich umgehe dieses Problem mit Hilfe eines kleinen Tools zur Umwandlung von DTS nach DD 5.1. Das setzt natürlich voraus, dass die Medien in digitaler Form als Sicherheitskopie auf der Festplatte vorliegen. Weitere Informationen und eine Anleitung findet man hier.

Ich habe die Hoffnung, dass Sonos doch noch DTS per Software Update nachreicht, da es ein heiß diskutiertes Thema im Forum ist und viele Käufer / Interessenten verschreckt.

PS: Wer prüfen möchte, was für ein Signal am Playbar ankommt, kann in der Controller App in die Einstellungen gehen und dann auf "Über das Sonos-System" klicken. Dort sieht man dann im Eintrag für den Playbar, was für ein Signal anliegt.

Crazy Horst wieder

by Volker Weber


by Volker Weber

Hat man die Bestätigung, löscht man den wiederkehrenden Termin und schreibt ein Blogpost, mit dem man anderen den Austritt erleichtert.

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Barracuda Networks launches a 'Dropbox Killer'

by Volker Weber

Any file you save with Copy on your computer, smartphone, or tablet is automatically accessible from any device you use.

Supported platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android.

Three steps to get your 10 GB:

  1. Sign up through this link >
  2. Check your inbox and confirm your email address.
  3. Install one of the clients.
About one in three persons fails at completing these three steps. ;-)

Yoga is my Chromebook

by Volker Weber

When Google beta tested the Chromebook, I wanted one. I was immediately thrilled by its ease of operation. It felt like a black Macbook, without the software. Alas, I could not get one. Then Samsung et al produced el cheapo Chromebooks. I wanted to try one, but never got around to actually buy it.

With the latest developments at Google, I am happy I didn't.

Now the Yoga is the closest thing I could get to a Chromebook. It's a Windows machine without all the Windows legacy. I know that Windows RT is a disaster so far. Nobody wants it because it won't run Norton Commander. But for me it's excellent. I can live in the browser, I have a few excellent apps like NextGen Reader. Today, Twitter released a native client.

Lately I also started using a Microsoft Surface. I wasn't convinced the very first day. But it's growing on me quickly. Ute just said today "you are using this thing all the time".

There is one caveat. Google is pushing me. I cannot get at my Gmail calendar and contacts from the Surface. Microsoft is working on IMAP support for It is their #1 priority right now. When they are done, it's time to move. Did you know there is no quota on

Why Yoga and not a Macbook Air? Apple does not make notebooks that run 12 hours on one charge.

BlackBerry Previews Secure Work Space for iOS and Android

by Volker Weber

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 14, 2013) - BlackBerry today confirmed its commitment to bringing a solution that will separate and secure work and personal data on mobile devices to third party platforms. Secure Work Space for iOS and Android will be managed through BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10, BlackBerry's multi-platform enterprise mobility management solution which builds upon more than a decade of enterprise and security expertise and is the most widely deployed mobility solution in enterprises today.

Closed beta testing for Secure Work Space has already started and general availability will be offered by the end of the second quarter, calendar year 2013. More details will be announced at the BlackBerry Live conference in May, 2013 in Orlando, Florida.

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On the end of Google Reader

by Volker Weber

Let me translate:

We launched Free Beer in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite beers. While the product has a loyal following, over the years drinking free beer has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Free Beer.

Time to think about what you pay for your other essential services.

Meaningful innovation

by Volker Weber

The Lumia does not have Instagram, or Instacrap, as I like to call it. That's a big deal for a lot of people. I am not one of them.

Meaningful innovation is a big deal for me. For instance the image and audio quality the Lumia 920 produces. Only ten months ago I first experienced this quality in the 808 PureView. And the 920 has similar capabilities. It lets me record videos without effort. Videos that are good enough to be used professionally. That's only the 920. No rig, no tripod, no steadycam, no microphone. Just the "phone".

And that's a big deal.

Show the product. Here: Notes 9

by Volker Weber

WhatsApp Messenger Launches on BlackBerry 10

by Volker Weber

WhatsApp Inc., the company behind WhatsApp Messenger, and BlackBerry today announced that WhatsApp will bring a native version of its popular mobile messaging service to the BlackBerry 10 platform.

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I could not stop looking out those windows

by Volker Weber

Surface updates

by Volker Weber

I am getting quite fond of Microsoft Surface. I have been using it more than the iPad lately. One odd thing: I just ran the big update which contained a firmware update on both Surface and Yoga. On Surface you have to run firmware updates multiple times, since it also updates the keyboard firmware. And you can only have one keyboard attached at the same time. I ran it three times: Surface, Touch Cover and Type Cover.

The Type Cover is still my favorite but I am getting better on the Touch Cover. It's the one that I ultimately want. However, I am using Surface most of the time without a cover, much like an iPad.

I like to use NextGen Reader to keep up with news. And I enjoy the way you can transfer files in and out of Surface via USB. I put a few TV shows on a stick and then watch them.

Latermark - a Pocket client for Windows 8 and RT

by Volker Weber

Far from perfect, but finally a Pocket client, that let's you view from and share to Pocket.

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Surface easter egg

by Volker Weber

I wonder how many Microsoft Surface owners or potential buyers realize they can extend storage with MicroSD cards.

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Lumia 720 - my future recommendation?

by Volker Weber


Wednesday I had the chance to play with the Lumia 720, one of the phones Nokia introduced in Barcelona. I need to use it for a week or so before recommending it, but so far I think you will get most of the 920 experience for a fraction of the cost. And it is much lighter than the flagship device. You won't get optical image stabilization, and it does not have LTE. But the photos that came off the cameras were brilliant. The front facing camera is very wide angle so you can fit four people into one photo when held at arm's length. The main camera sports a 1.9 aperture Zeiss lens.

With the body being a lot thinner and lighter, it holds really nicely in your hand. I am looking forward to trying it out once it does become available next quarter. Actually, I am hoping for next month.

Place Tag Beta

by Volker Weber

Nokia Place Tag takes more than a photo. It reveals info about the places within your photo, such as museums and famous buildings, which you can then share as a postcard to your friends.

More > for BlackBerry 10 in BlackBerry World

by Volker Weber

Install from here >

TDK Boombox mit 16 GB Speicher

by Volker Weber


Das ist jetzt der erste Speicherstick, mit dem die Boombox gut aussieht.

vowe on TV

by Volker Weber

The Lumia 920 wins at vowe's magic flying circus

by Volker Weber

For the first time in 5 years, a Nokia is my choice of phone. The Lumia 920 continues to be my favorite, 3 months and counting.

Drucker sind die Pest. Die Geräte, nicht die Menschen.

by Volker Weber

Drucker kaufen ist mit das Furchtbarste, was es in der IT gibt. Es gab nur eine kurze Phase vor ca 20 Jahren, in der alles passte. Vorher musste man unter DOS in jedem Programm einen Treiber installieren. Vor zwanzig Jahren dann ging das Dank OS/2 und Windows ganz einfach. Ein Treiber für alle Programme.

Vor dort aus ging es bergab. Statt eines PCL5- oder PS-Treibers wollte HP das "HP Printing System" installieren. Und das hatte ständig was zu melden. Der Drucker eroberte den PC. Oder: der Schweif begann mit dem Hund zu wedeln.

Heute sind wir in einem Markt, in dem der Drucker geradezu verschenkt wird, damit der die teuerste Flüssigkeit der Welt verspritzt. Mein Ausweg: ich drucke nicht mehr. Nichts. Gar nichts. OK, außen Tickets für die Huschebahn und Bordkarten.

Update your Voyager headsets

by Volker Weber

I wanted to use the BT300 that came with the Voyager Pro UC with the newer Voyager legend, and Plantronics recommends a firmware update. So I went to MyHeadset Updater (works only on Windows) and updated BC300 and both headsets.

I don't have a change log, but bigger numbers are better, right?

Evernote resets all passwords

by Volker Weber

Evernote's Operations & Security team has discovered and blocked suspicious activity on the Evernote network that appears to have been a coordinated attempt to access secure areas of the Evernote Service.

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Frightens young children

by Volker Weber

It's like a Gorillapad. Only for tablets.

David Bowie's The Next Day streaming free on iTunes

by Volker Weber

Listening to David Bowie's new album. Streaming free on iTunes (PC/Mac or iPad) at

BlackBerry 10 software updated to Top 5 Improvements

by Volker Weber

Today we issued a software update for BlackBerry 10 smartphones that’s focused on your feedback. It’s already available from some carriers and we’re working closely with all our carrier partners to get it to you as soon as possible.

Vodafone DE will push the update starting tomorrow.

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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